U.S. Eviction-Prone Tenants! Know Your Landlords . . . Except, Like, How?

Jar filled with candy
Halloween Guessing Game photo by Janet is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Who exactly is your landlord? A person? A corporation? How are tenants treated? Games of chance, where you guess the number of candies in a jar are fine, but when it comes to renting a home, it would be better to be certain.

Beginning drivers face restrictions. Beginning landlords, not so much.

For a moment, let’s briefly honour landlords for their historic role as some of society’s first good Samaritans. When fearful citizens were pouring hot oil from the battlements onto strangers at the city gates, landlords were offering them sanctuary to rest their weary heads.

That was then. And now?

In America it’s by and large very easy to become a landlord. Legal restrictions to the job? Oh yes!

But easy enough to ignore them, putting landlords conveniently on a par with their tenants, who are most often equally or even more ignorant about both their rights and responsibilities.

In this time of pandemic, with cash-strapped tenants hoping to face down mortgage-strapped landlords and avoid eviction, both sides have a stake in this lose-lose battle.

There’s a simple bureaucratic tool that communities can put in place to help educate potential combatants, as well as assist in refereeing their conflicts: rental registries.

Shelterforce explores the benefits of rental registries that currently exist in some American cities. The overview covers not only their existing benefits but also ways in which the rental registries could be expanded to further aid tenants, landlords and communities alike.

Read more in Shelterforce: We Need Rental Registries Now More Than Ever

Needless to say, landlords and tenants, often poorly educated, spar in many, if not most, countries. The Shelterforce analysis offers insights worth considering well beyond the borders of the United States.

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